This summer has been an amazing season of growth, self-exploration, and self-discovery. I have been learning a great deal about who I am and how to be All of who I am. My forty-ninth birthday is just around the corner, my work on my third degree has moved from the first steps to the beginning of the path, and I have begun to See how my visions of my future might come to pass.
But I have also had to look at the past, in this life and in others. And I have come to see that I am a Survivor. I am proud of that. Survivor does not mean victim, it does not mean wounded, it does not mean damaged. Survivor means Strong, it means ALIVE, it means Unconquerable and Unbreakable.
In this lifetime I have Survived;
Suicidal obsession and attempts,
Self-destructive patterns of high-risk behavior,
My own Rage,
Compliance with the decisions of others,
The loss of my children,
Two years under the power of an extreme, militant, fundamentalist, baptist preacher and his followers.
Years of silencing my own self and hiding from my own power,
And the voices in my head that are, and that are not, my own.
I am ALIVE, I am Happy, and I am finally beginning to live my life the way I was meant to all of these years. I have Survived because I am Stronger than any of those things.
My Gods, my Ancestors, my Allies, and my Community have all had a hand in helping me to learn to live but, I am the one who Survived to learn.
I share these things with you because, if you are reading this, you might be living in shadow, you might be looking for the candles. You might have experienced depression or assault; you might feel that you are weak, or damaged. You might believe that dying is your only option to end the pain, or the fear, or the despair. You might even think that you deserve nothing good, and that you are destined to be alone and in pain for the rest of your life.
But I would point out that, you have Survived. If you are reading this, you are Alive. You are a Survivor! You are Strong and Unconquerable, and Unbreakable. YOU are the Beauty to be found in the Darkness! Nothing is stronger than that!